WESTPORT, Wa. - A seal pup who was carried off a beach near Westport, Washington, in a shopping tote was later euthanized.
Westport Aquarium released a photo of the pup after it was taken away from its habitat last month. State wildlife officials later euthanized the pup after determining that it was lethargic and unresponsive.
As harbor seals are born in the Pacific Northwest, marine mammal advocates are urging people not to touch or pick up pups that come up on beaches and shorelines to rest.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that at least five times this season, well-meaning people have illegally picked up seal pups in Oregon and Washington, thinking they were abandoned or needed help.
Pups who appear to be abandoned may be resting and regulating their body temperatures, or may be waiting for their mothers.
The risk of taking the animals off the beach is that adult seals may abandon their pups.
Two seals have died this season.
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